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‘Beloved’ Tony-Winning Actress Frances Sternhagen Dies at 93



Frances Sternhagen, a veteran actress who featured in Sex and the City and won a pair of Tony Awards in her five decades on Broadway, died on Monday at 93.

Sternhagen’s son, John Carlin, announced her death in a statement posted to Instagram, which said his mom, a Washington, D.C., native, died peacefully of natural causes in her home.

“Fly on, Frannie,” Carlin wrote. “The curtain goes down on a life so richly, passionately, humbly and generously lived.”

Sternhagen was renowned on Broadway, but was perhaps best known for her roles as two mothers on television: the controlling Bunny MacDougal on Sex and the City and the overbearing Esther Clavin on Cheers. Her performance earned her Emmy nominations for both roles.

Carlin made sure his mom’s accolades on Broadway weren’t forgotten, writing that she was “one of the New York stage’s most celebrated and beloved stars.”

Sternhagen earned Tony nominations for her performances in the 1972 production of The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Equus in 1975, Angel in 1978, On Golden Pond in 1979 and, in 2002, Morning’s at Seven.


She won two Tony Awards—both times for Best Featured Actress/Play—for her performances in Neil Simon’s The Good Doctor (1974) and Augustus Goetz’s The Heiress (1995).

Concurrent with her performances on Broadway, Sternhagen also featured in films in the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, including roles in Up the Down Staircase, The Hospital, Fedora, and Bright Lights, Big City.

Sternhagen attended Vassar College in upstate New York and went to graduate school at the Catholic University of America, in Washington. She studied acting at the Perry Mansfield School of the Theatre and New York City’s Neighborhood Playhouse.

Sternhagen met Thomas Carlin while she was in graduate school and married him in 1956. The couple had six children together and remained married until his death, in 1991.

“I just want to give thanks for the remarkable gift of an artist and human being that was Frances Sternhagen,” Carlin said. “She was beloved by many.”

Source: The Daily Beast


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